Ephesians 4:11 begins by talking about some gifts given to us through the types of people we are around or are influenced by – the apostles and prophets, evangelists, spiritual leaders, and teachers. Paul goes on to explain in verse 12 that these gifts are given for the “equipping of the saints,” making us ready for our work of service. This creates an environment on building and encouragement, and verse 13 tells us this building up is to the goal of spiritual maturity and unity as measured against the standard of Christ.
In verses 14-15, maturity helps us withstand impure influences and false doctrines. We should be spiritually growing towards the ideal of Christ, and Paul wraps up by saying that every member must do its part for the body (the church) to function properly. Every member is to serve in building our spiritual body, edified and assisted by the teachers and leaders we are blessed with.
Edifying the Body
Romans 12:3-8 speaks to various roles we can assume in the building up of the body. Paul encourages us to serve when service is needed – helping the congregation and members in whatever ways we can. In Mark 10:45, Jesus says that He did not come to be serve but to serve others. Our focus should not be on how the congregation serves us. Rather, we should be asking ourselves how we can serve our congregations.
Teaching is also mentioned in Romans 12, and there are many ways we can teach. Teachable moments present themselves on a daily basis. We don’t have to be in a formal setting to show someone the Lord. Philip, in John 1, merely invites his brother when he encounters Jesus. Think about some of the situations Jesus taught in. Teachab.e moments happen, and we should be looking for them.
Romans 12:8 speaks to encouraging one another. How can we build one another up? What do we talk about when Christians are together? Hebrews 3:13 tells us to encourage each other daily, and conversation is a good place for this to start. We need to be involved with each other, helping each other grow, whether we consider ourselves strong or weak Christians.
Romans 12:8 also mentions giving. We live in a world that values greed and selfishness, but Christians are supposed to be giving – especially toward each other. First century Christians sold of their own possessions and shared their resources with those in need and with those who spread the gospel. Leadership is also a topic here. We need people of conviction, prayer, and patience who work and serve and are consumed with helping other grow. Paul, in his journeys, was seldom alone. He always had someone he was mentoring or teaching.
Finally, mercy is present in this passage. I Peter 4:8 pleads for us to be loving toward each other, hospitable and serving in our character. God want us to take our blessings, and he wants us to pass these blessings on.
There is work we can all do, and our goal should be to build up ourselves and the members of our congregation to the standard of Christ, living a life of Christian service and sharing the hope we have in Christ with others.
lesson by Gary Fisher